This year's T.S. Eliot Prize shortlist once again included remarkable American poets like Mark Doty and Claudia Rankine. In 2012, American poet Sharon Olds took home the prize. Yet the list has never, to my knowledge, featured someone in Eliot's own circumstances -- that is, an American-born poet living here in the UK.
Along with contemporaries like Ezra Pound, and successors like Robert Frost, Eliot was part of a long tradition of American expatriate poets living in the UK throughout the twentieth century. Who are the contemporary American poets living and working here now? The list is actually longer than you might expect.
So this year, in addition to introducing American poetry fans to five British poets to watch in 2016, I would like to introduce poetry lovers in the UK to five Americans worth knowing more about here in our own back garden.
Sarah Fletcher is a young poet whose confessional poems are bold, wry, and teeming with dark imaginative flourish. I reviewed her debut pamphlet Kissing Angles (Dead Ink Books, 2015) last year, and can't wait to see what she gets up to next.
Dante Micheaux is a poet, academic, and self-proclaimed dandy. His debut collection Amorous Shepherd (Sheep Meadow Press, 2010) brims with desire and longing, but always in service to investigating some deeper (and often uncomfortable) human truth. In this same spirit, his thoughtful essay dismantling the codified language of the Times Literary Supplement in its criticism of Poetry Magazine's diversity efforts is, in itself, pure poetry.
Bethany W. Pope is a poet in love with form. Deeply sensitive, and wildly imaginative, she contorts herself virtuously into such mashups as the double-acrostic sonnet crown, etching deeper meanings into deceptively plainspoken, American veneer.
R.A. Villanueva's full-length debut Reliquaria was selected for the Prairie Schooner Book Prize in America in 2013 by Kwame Dawes. He writes poetry redolent with history and family culture. These poems become ecstatic in their keen perception of the poignant beauty resting beneath the surface of the everyday world.
Tamar Yoseloff is a longtime London resident with numerous publications and awards to her name. Highly collaborative, her work often responds to contemporary paintings and photographs with an incisive turn of mind and phrase. An avid educator, she has also no doubt infused a touch of American sensibility into a whole generation of up-and-coming British poets.
There you have it -- five Yanks in Blighty infusing our language with New World vigour.
You don't have to fly to New York to hear poetry with an American accent. Instead, you can catch these poets reading at places like the Troubadour, Southbank Centre, or Poetry Cafe in London.
Seek them out, in person and in print, to add a dose of stateside verve to your year in poetry ahead.